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College Football
Preview
Boston College vs Penn State
When: 4:30 PM ET, Saturday, December 27, 2014
Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York

NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL STORYLINES

1. Two of the nation’s top defenses take center stage when Boston College and Penn State clash in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Nittany Lions, who feature the top rushing defense and second-ranked total defense, are in a bowl game for the first time in three years after the NCAA lifted their postseason ban earlier this season. The Eagles, in search of their first bowl win since 2007, counter with the fourth-best run defense and 12th-ranked total defense.

2. BC’s Tyler Murphy broke the ACC's single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 1,079 yards in 2014. The Florida transfer also broke the school’s career record for rushing yards in a season by a quarterback, previously held by Eagles legend Doug Flutie. Thanks largely to Murphy, BC became only the second ACC team since 2000 to post back-to-back 400-plus yard rushing efforts when it rolled up 452 in an upset win over USC and 413 the next week against Maine.

3. The Nittany Lions’ stout defense is led by linebacker Mike Hull, who was named the Big Ten Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year after leading the conference with 134 tackles. Despite his modest 6-0, 223-pound frame, the senior All-America candidate recorded more than twice as many stops as the No. 2 Penn State tackler (Nyeem Wartman, 64). Fellow All-Big Ten first-team honoree Anthony Zettel did a bit of everything from his defensive tackle spot in 2014, leading the team in tackles for loss (15) and sacks (eight) while also collecting three interceptions.

TV: 4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Boston College -2.5

ABOUT BOSTON COLLEGE (7-5, 4-4 ACC): Running back John Hilliman proved to be an effective replacement for 2013 Heisman Trophy finalist Andre Williams, setting the Eagles’ freshman record for rushing attempts (185) while finishing the regular season tied for second in the conference with 12 rushing touchdowns. With Hilliman and Murphy (170 carries) sharing the workload fairly evenly, the Eagles are one of three teams in the nation that rank in the top 15 in rushing offense (14th) and rushing defense. BC outrushed the opposition 2,115-284 in its seven victories this season, holding all seven teams to fewer than 100 yards on the ground and three to fewer than 20.

ABOUT PENN STATE (6-6, 2-6 Big Ten): The Nittany Lions opened the season 4-0 and posted their four best offensive days in doing so – averaging 443 over that stretch – but managed only 266.6 yards per game while dropping six of their final eight contests. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg may have taken the biggest step back in the transition from former coach Bill O’Brien to first-year coach James Franklin, throwing for eight touchdowns after tossing 20 during his 2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year campaign. Freshman receiver DaeSean Hamilton led the conference with 75 catches and finished fourth in receiving yards (848), earning second-team all-conference honors.

PREDICTION: Boston College 20, Penn State 17
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Boston College 7-5 W1 25.9 20.5 3-4 4-1 2-1 0-0 4-4
Penn State 6-6 L2 19.8 17.7 3-4 3-2 4-4 0-0 2-6
Last Meeting
Boston College Penn State
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
9/11/04 PSU 7 BC 21 328 129 199 327 73 254
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Boston College P. Peterson 74.2 199 3 0
Penn State Z. Mills 56.1 254 1 4
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Boston College A. Callender 27 114 4.2 0
Penn State T. Hunt 14 41 2.9 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Boston College G. Adams 4 50 12.5 1
Penn State G. Smith 5 74 14.8 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Boston College G. Adams 1
Penn State R. Scott 1
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Boston College T. Murphy 56.9 1526 11 10
Penn State C. Hackenberg 54.4 2606 8 15
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Boston College T. Murphy 169 1074 6.4 10
Penn State A. Lynch 130 603 4.6 4
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Boston College J. Bordner 26 342 13.2 3
Penn State D. Hamilton 75 848 11.3 1
Touchdowns Player TD
Boston College J. Hillman 12
Penn State B. Belton 7
Quickchart Matchup
Boston College Off vs  Penn State Def
383.8 yards
269.8 yards
5.1 yards/rush
2.6 yards/rush
7.1 yards/attempt
5.8 yards/attempt
Penn State Off vs  Boston College Def
325.5 yards
312.8 yards
2.9 yards/rush
3.1 yards/rush
6 yards/attempt
7 yards/attempt